TANNER GRAY COLLECTS FOURTH PRO STOCK WIN OF THE SEASON
When Tanner Gray joined NHRA’s Pro Stock ranks last season, the rookie had ultra-high expectations.
Gray is living up to all the hype. He has competed in 40 career Pro Stock races and has nine national event wins – that means he’s won 23 percent of the races he’s entered.
Gray’s ninth win came Sunday when beat Deric Kramer in the final round at the 31st annual CatSpot NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways Sunday near Seattle.
Gray was handed the win in the finals when Kramer had a red light start.
“It definitely (goes) to the team,” said Gray, when asked about the key for his nine wins in less than two seasons. “Equipment is everything out here. Drivers obviously play a part in it but look at Deric Kramer. He didn’t have equipment, basically his whole career and you’re scared to race the dude now. In the previous years, if you’re racing Deric Kramer in the final, “H*ll yeah, I have it made, but not anymore. He’s doing a fantastic job driving. He’s really stepped up and surprised me. It goes to show, when you have good equipment behind you it makes you drive better and everything else. It’s definitely the team that has got me where I’m at today. They’ve worked with me through the mistakes I have made I have a pretty good couple of driver coaches with Dave (Connelly, his crew chief) and my dad, (Shane) and my grandpa (Johnny) when here and there when he puts his advice in.”
This was Gray’s fourth win of the season – tops in the class. Gray has wins in Gainesville, Fla., Richmond, Va., and Norwalk, Ohio, this year.
Gray’s wins Sunday came against Fernando Cuadra, Jason Line, Vincent Nobile and then Kramer.
“It was a great day, and I couldn’t be happier,” Gray said. “In the final, I got to wheel it a little bit, and play a factor of getting the car down the track. Your average Pro Stock run, you let the clutch out and for the most part it stays straight, and it is all about reaction time and stuff like that. When I get a chance to wheel it and pull some gears and have it sideways it is a lot of fun for me. Luckily, he went red and we were able to get the win. It was a tough day up on that starting line. It seemed reaction times were a little bit slower here. It felt like I was killing it, and was 30s. I was 28, 30, 31 and 22 in the final. I sped my linkage up to a place I’ve never really raced with it. It was kind of an experimental test for the final and I think it paid off. A 22 was really good out there, especially here in the final with the track getting hot. I’m pleaded with and end up getting the win.”
Gray acknowledged he didn’t realize Kramer had a red-light start until later in his run.
“Not until third gear after I had it pretty much somewhat straight,” he said.